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Former Rep. Charlie Dent, who has COVID-19, worries about future prospects of out-of-work Pennsylvanians due to pandemic

Former Allentown Congressman Charlie Dent, who himself has tested positive for the coronavirus, said he is worried some out-of-work Pennsylvanians won’t be able to return to the same jobs they had before the pandemic.
“I’m sitting here in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I can tell you that there are just hordes of people who are out of work,” Dent said Wednesday morning on CNN, “and I’m really concerned they may not ever get back to work, at least in the jobs they have today, if we don’t get beyond the pandemic.
“We have to do the social distancing,” he said "... But I’m concerned about the long-term economic implications for a lot of people who thought they had stable jobs and may not anymore.”
Dent, a Republican who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004 to 2018, said officials must work to get stimulus checks to Americans as soon as possible and called Trump’s firing of Glenn Fine, the inspector general who was to oversee the $2 trillion spending, “a very serious mistake.”
Dent, a centrist who retired instead of seeking reelection amid anti-Trump sentiment in 2018, has been openly critical of the President.

Fine ”struck me as a very professional inspector general, and you really do need inspector generals during times like this,” Dent said.
Dent described his own case of coronavirus is mild and said it is so far marked by extreme fatigue.

Mall owner PREIT asks for federal paycheck protection loan, furloughs staff

PREIT, the publicly-traded, investor-owned Philadelphia company that owns the Cherry Hill, Willow Grove and Plymouth Meeting malls, and runs the Philadelphia Fashion Center at the former Gallery in Center City, is asking for a “forgiveable” federal Paycheck Protection Program loan to pay staff members.
PREIT last week furloughed 41 office staff and 62 property management workers — 37 percent of its total staff — to cut costs. Even before state orders shut shopping malls as part of the costly national campaign to slow the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, PREIT was asking its banks for financial relief, due to Americans’ shifting shopping patterns and its own big debt load
The PPP program allows employers to borrow up to $10 million over the next two months, and promises to “forgive” the loans, at taxpayers’ expense, if the money is used to pay staff (not top management) and occupancy (rent, utilities).

White House task force is watching Philly area as a developing coronavirus hot spot

Philadelphia is among the coronavirus hot spots that the White House is currently watching, according to Deborah Birx, the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response director.
During an appearance on Good Morning America on Wednesday, Birx said the White House Coronavirus Task Force has been looking for trends in daily case reporting and COVID-19 testing, and that Philadelphia is among the cities they are keeping an eye on.
"We are concerned about the metro area of Washington and Baltimore, and we’re concerned right now about the Philadelphia area,” Birx said. “All of our previous areas appear to be steady at least.”
Birx didn’t offer any specifics about Philadelphia or the region. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As of Thursday morning, there have been 4,272 COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia, and at least 200 deaths in the city and its surrounding counties. On Tuesday, officials reported 47 new deaths in the eight-county Philadelphia region, a daily high. But leaders are cautiously optimistic that social distancing efforts are having an impact, as the case curve has been flattening in Pennsylvania.

Photos: Philly landmarks lit in blue to honor health-care workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic

On Tuesday night, Philly was looking a little blue.
To commemorate World Health Day and to honor health-care workers fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, many of the city’s iconic structures were lit blue. The landmarks will be bathed in blue every Tuesday for the rest of April.
“The selfless health-care workers who are on the front lines of this public health crisis are true heroes,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “The act of lighting our city up in blue is a small but highly visible way to express our support and appreciation during this trying time. We want Philadelphia’s health-care workers to know we are thinking of them and are eternally grateful for the sacrifices they are making each day.”
Buildings that participated included the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the PECO Building, Citizens Bank Park, the Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial Field.
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